Fenerbahce Ulker had one foot in the Top 16 as it downed visiting Chorale Roanne 81-68 in Istanbul, Turkey on Wednesday. Fenerbahce improved to 6-5 in Group C. It needs only another victory or a loss by Lottomatica Roma, which played later Wednesday against Brose Baskets in Bamberg, Germany. Meanwhile, Chorale dropped to 3-8 but still has chances to reach the next round. Willie Solomon led the winners with 19 points. James White added 12, Omer Onan had 11 while Rasim Basak and Gasper Vidmar each got 10 for Fenerbahce. Euroleague leading scorer Marc Salyers led Roanne with 20 points. Brion Rush added 12 while Ron Hale and Will Soliman each had 10 for the guests. Fenerbahce rolled in the first quarter, opening the game with a 14-2 run and boosting its margin to 28-13 after 10 minutes. Salyers singlehandedly tried to bring Chorale back, getting the guests to within 44-36 at halftime. Back-to-back triples by Basak boosted Fenerbahce in front by 57-41 midway through the third quarter but Roanne was not done. Hale, Rush and Adam Hess shot Chorale within 65-63 with 7 minutes to go. Solomon reappeared then with 7 quick points to make it 74-66, with 2 minutes to go, sealing the outcome and maybe Fenerbahce's now-likely Top 16 berth.
Fenerbahce went wild after the tipoff, racing to a 7-0 advantage punctuated by a layup from Vidmar. Even after Pape Badiane got Roanne on the scoreboard, Fenerbahce was on fire, piling up the points until White's cut to the basket and dunk made it 14-2. Roanne tried, but couldn't get to the basket, while the hosts could do nothing but score, with a triple by Solomon and another basket by Vidmar making it 24-8. Roanne took a timeout and returned in a 3-2 zone defence that changed the tone of the game. Soliman's tip-in capped a 0-5 run for the visitors at 24-13, but Mirsad Turkcan followed White with a spectacular penetration and dunk to finish the first quarter with Fenerbahce still in control, 28-13.
Rush got Roanne's second quarter going with a triple to which Hale added a shorter jumper to make it 28-18. Roanne kept relying on its 3-2 zone defense to keep Fenerbahce from scoring at will, while their own offense kept working for the visitors. Salyers and Rush combined on Roanne's next 6 points to get the difference back to single digits at 32-24. Fenerbahce needed a spark now, and found it in the person of Damir Kaan, whose 2 consecutive three-point shots midway through the quarter vaulted the lead back to 14 points, 38-24. Salyers took responsibility for his team's offense during the rest of the second quarter and made trouble for Fenerbahce time and again, while the hosts struggled with turnovers to keep their lead at 10 points or higher. Salyers had the last say, however, and his 18 points for the half ended with 2 free throws that drew the visitors as close as 44-36 headed into the locker rooms.
Laurent Cazalon reduced the Roanne deficit to just 6 points with a jump shot to start the second half, but Fenerbahce responded with a 5-0 burste in which Vidmar scored and Onan buried a triple, extending the lead to double digits again, at 49-38. It didn't take much longer for the home team to reach a 16-point advantage as Basak stepped out and knocked down his own pair of long-range bombs, making it 57-41 midway through the third quarter. Roanne was far from finished, responding with a triple by Hale and a layup by Soliman to cut the difference to 61-52. Fenerbahce's own Solomon ended the third quarter with a jumper, however, keeping the hosts comfortably ahead, 63-52, after 30 minutes.
Wednesday, January 9, 2008